Activation of mature CD8 + T cells requires recognition, via the T cell receptor (TCR), of peptide + MHC (pMHC) complexes with an avidity that exceeds a designated threshold. Multiple indicators of T cell avidity have been described that provide unique information on the characteristics of T cell interactions. However, these indicators are routinely used in isolation, and, consequently, little is known about correlations between these measures or which measure, if any, correlates with the quality of the T cell response. Following influenza virus infection of C57BL/6J mice, we analyzed the relative avidities of five epitope-specific CD8 + T cell populations using five different measures. We demonstrated that the quality of CD8 + T cell responses, in terms of cytokine profiles, correlates with TCR dissociation rate and CD8 dependence, but not with the sensitivity to tetramer binding or peptide stimulation. Thus, we propose that, despite significant differences in TCR dissociation rate, the stimulation threshold of influenza-specific CD8 + T cell populations may be equivalent due to compensatory mechanisms largely provided by the CD8 coreceptor. Furthermore, this study shows that different indicators of avidity do not necessarily provide similar information and should be used in combination to obtain an overall picture of the characteristics of TCR binding.
- CD8 T cells
- Influenza virus